A New Dawn for America’s Wild Horses and Burros

April 22, 2019

Wild horse

Today, the ASPCA is proud to announce the unveiling of a bold new proposal to better protect our cherished wild horses and burros on federal, public rangeland. With agreement from a diverse coalition of animal welfare, wild horse advocacy, conservation and rangeland management stakeholders, the proposal outlines a powerful, non-lethal path forward for these imperiled icons of the American West. 

Wild horses and burros have been part of American culture and our landscape for centuries. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) estimates that approximately 88,000 of them currently roam freely on ranges throughout the country, and they are integral parts of the environmental tapestry that makes these lands so extraordinary. But as beautiful and iconic as these animals are, they are also shockingly vulnerable. While some of the threats they face are due to loss of habitat and competition for resources, many are the consequences of misguided public policy. Without a drastic overhaul of wild horse and burro management policies, these animals’ long-term survival is in jeopardy. 

“For more than a decade, the future of our wild mustangs has been under serious threat, but we are now on the verge of converting what has been considered by many to be a lost cause into a success story.” said Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “The ASPCA’s goal has been to find a humane way forward for our nation’s iconic wild horses and burros, and to ensure these herds will roam our West well into the future,”

We are confident that those who care about equines and the land on which they reside share common goals: humane treatment, ecological health and fiscal responsibility. Doing nothing will not achieve these goals and worse, will surely put these wild animals in harm’s way. For the sake of our nation’s iconic herds, now is the time to come together and get to work. 

With this plan, the government’s costs will decrease over time and federally protected herds will be managed effectively. Experts from all corners—rangeland management, wild horse advocacy, equine welfare, and wildlife conservation—have put aside longstanding differences to unite under one effective, humane, sustainable plan to guide the Wild Horse and Burro Program to a brighter future.

The next step will be to work with members of Congress and the BLM—the two entities that ultimately control the fate of these herds—to ensure that any federal funding and regulation prioritizes animal welfare as a paramount concern. Our ultimate goal is to see this non-lethal approach supported through funding for the BLM.  

This is where you come in: Legislators need to know that the American public wants to see wild horses and burros protected and managed humanely and non-lethally on the range. Raise your voices for our iconic herds here.

Read more details about this strategy here, and be sure to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade to be alerted when we need your help to advance this and other animal-protection measures.